The Apostle Of First Principles: Fr. Vincent McNabb, OP


Catholics today who are confused or dismayed by the so-called “radicalism” of Pope Francis — especially in view of his critique of “trickle-down” economics and the “tyranny” of modern finance —should understand that he is in line with a tradition that goes back to Pope Leo XIII, who in the foundational encyclical on Catholic social doctrine, Rerum Novarum (1891), deplored the fact that:
“[W]orking men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hard-heartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless under different guise, but with the like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself.”
It was Pope Leo’s encyclical that inspired the newly ordained Dominican priest, Fr. Vincent McNabb, to devote his life to the service of London’s poor, evangelizing, catechizing, and giving aid and comfort, while also teaching Dominican novices and carrying on a large public ministry, especially by speaking at large public events, notably the speaker’s forum in Hyde Park.
The life of Fr. McNabb (1868-1943) was the subject of a recent talk by Michael Hennessy to the Belloc Society in London on November 12.
Hennessy, a career, non-political employee of Parliament, described McNabb as the “Apostle of First Principles,” who “was always at pains to say that he only spoke as the Church spoke…to drive all of us, both within and without, back to first principles, to understand not just from custom or habit or from obedience or from fashion or fear of offense or human respect what is the Truth — and, from an understanding of that Truth, for us to draw closer to Christ, to Almighty God and thus to Blessedness.
“His was not an easy task — it was ascetic, hard, driven, [likely] to create as many enemies as friends, to drive some to mock him, to hate him. But this is perhaps the role of the alter Christus throughout the ages,” Hennessy observed.
Pope Leo’s encyclical Rerum Novarum, said Hennessy, was “the foundational text” of his life, and McNabb urged his novices to always keep a copy of it by their bedside, and to carry it with them while they were out and about. But Scripture and St. Thomas’ Summa, which McNabb translated into English while on his knees, were also foundational, and the basis for his critiques of society, the state, and modern economics.
Hennessy explained: “An example of how reflection upon a short passage of Scripture influenced his teaching about society and economics can be found in his book, Nazareth or Social Chaos. As with many of his essays, Fr. McNabb’s mind was set a-whirring by a text — in this case a line from St. John’s account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. St. John records how those who were hungry took ‘as much as they would.’
“Fr. McNabb comments: ‘If the Eternal Wisdom, instead of miraculously providing bread and fishes, had provided money, St. John would have been unable to say that as much as each one wanted Jesus gave.’
“As ever there is much to unpack from this text and from Fr. McNabb’s comment.

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45 Responses to The Apostle Of First Principles: Fr. Vincent McNabb, OP

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    Does Christianity seek a world where all men have the same amount of money – or as near as?

    Is it the purpose of Christianity to raise people out of poverty?

    I don’t think so.

  2. johnhenrycn says:

    Jesus never urged us to make a world where all men are economically equal. Show me where He said that. Jesus never urged us to eradicate poverty. Show me where He said that.
    What He said was: Give up your money.
    All this talk about helping the poor, being fair to the poor, misses the essential point.
    The “First Principle” – the first Christian economic principle – is that money doesn’t matter. We should not seek to raise people out of poverty. We should seek to descend into poverty. I don’t mean that people who go bankrupt through profligacy or laziness are blest – far from it:

    ”A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber and want like an armed man.”

    Proverbs 6: 10-11 and 24:33-34
    Grasshoppers, Catholic or otherwise, will be least in the kingdom of heaven, if they get there at all. But our mission is not to raise the poor to our level, but to join them in theirs.

  3. kathleen says:

    Is it the purpose of Christianity to raise people out of poverty?

    I don’t think so.

    No, I don’t think so either, JH.
    Though naturally we all, even the poor, should always reach out to help those who are more needy than ourselves (or themselves), there is often too much emphasis in this post-V2 era on a purely material poverty, when a poverty of spirit is far worse and causes much greater, deeper suffering. Besides, this ‘poverty’ is the only one that could lead a man to lose his immortal soul! (Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta often used to bring up this ‘spiritual poverty’ she saw as being so rife in the West.)

    The purpose of the Catholic Church is not to reduce poverty. The Apostles and Church Fathers were not concerned with people’s material lifestyle but rather with their conversion, and thus their everlasting happiness with God in Heaven. For this is the destiny for which we were created “from the beginning”, and for which Our Blessed Saviour sacrificed every drop of His Most Sacred Blood.

  4. johnhenrycn says:

    One of my favourite BBC programmes is Larkrise To Candleford, in which the poor people in the hamlet of Larkrise are generally happier than, or as happy as, the townspeople in Candleford. A priest preaching to us a few months ago told of his life in Mexico, and how the desperately poor people in his parish were actually happy people.

  5. kathleen says:

    That is a really great post, Michael! The wisdom and insights of Msgr. Pope always hit the nail squarely on the head. Yes, truly – the unending desire to satisfy our cravings for material goods leave very little space in the heart for God.
    Must repeat Father’s wonderful quote from the Book of Proverbs:
    “Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me [only] with food that I need for today: Lest I be full, and deny you, and say, Who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Proverbs 30:9-10).

    Better to be ‘richer’ in the love of God rather than in perishable, superficial, passing things. 😉 “No es más rico quien más tiene sino el que menos necesita” said the sage St Teresa of Avila!

  6. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 10:53, August 24th:

    Yes, it is a great post isn’t it, and Msgr. Pope really does always get it right on the money (I had enjoyed his posts on and off for a while before fairly recently adding his blog to my Reader, so I can enjoy his insights daily)!

    Very wise words indeed from Saint Teresa, and very simple too (as words of true wisdom often are) – if only they were as simple to put into action as they are to comprehend though 🙂 How hard it is to purify our wills so that we need but the one thing/Person necessary!

  7. GC says:

    No es más rico quien más tiene sino el que menos necesita

    . . . which I think means, more or less, he is not richer who has more, but he who needs less

    Dear kathleen, do you have chapter and verse for that? Sorry (h/t JH)

    Look what I found:

  8. GC says:

    @ johnhenrycn , August 22, 2015 at 03:52
    Is it the purpose of Christianity to raise people out of poverty?

    I don’t think so.

    JH, I think it’s a general rule that all God’s sons and daughters, made in His image, should live in material circumstances that reflect that very great dignity. Which is not to say that they should all be in a position to contemplate buying the second yacht. Human dignity does not require a very great sum of money to maintain it.

    I think if the particular political or social system or set-up of any society has not the means or the momentum to strive towards ensuring that dignity for its members then Catholics have to get moving.

  9. johnhenrycn says:

    You always come up with the most powerful videos and this one was no exception. Very moving.

    There is no material, substantive difference between what you say and what I say. There’s just a difference in emphasis being expressed on this one particular thread. I think that the main goal of a Christian must be to shed as much wealth as he is spiritually capable of doing. I think that helping the poor is secondary to that, but only by a smidgen. I think that Kathleen’s and Monsignor Pope’s quote from Proverbs strikes exactly the right note.

  10. johnhenrycn says:

    …by “main goal” I mean a Christian’s main material goal, not his ultimate goal, which is something more involved than merely being poor. Shedding wealth is a means to an end, not the end itself.

  11. GC says:

    Yes, JH, I think the Proverbs verses describe well in what circumstances all humans should be able to live. I am confident the Lord made the earth such that we should all have what is minimally sufficient to live in it with dignity and to respond thankfully to Him for His love and care.

    I suspect our response to the political system we find ourselves born into and our later understanding as adults of the wealth we acquire through life are not exactly the same thing, which I think is what you may be getting at.

    My own father was a government lawyer and later a judge and wrote two very successful law books in a certain area of the law. They came to be accepted as “bibles'” for that legal area and he made a lot of money from them. They were in every law practice, university and college law library and also court library in the country, not to mention the loose-leaf updates that he wrote as the law gradually developed further, and which were sent out twice a year. We found after he died that he had already donated nearly all the royalties to charities. Thus there was no splendid yacht for his offspring from his deceased estate (oh rats!), but nevertheless a modestly comfortable life for his widow for her remaining years, the mother of their seven children.

  12. johnhenrycn says:

    Wonderful backgrounder! Dying to know the titles of the books. Don’t expect to, but have money, will buy…unless they’re about Human Rights, in which case I prefer to wait for Mr Kehoe’s bestseller 😉

  13. kathleen says:

    GC @ 16:56 yesterday

    😳 (the WordPress smiley sign for “oops”!)
    You may well be right dear GC, and that this is an ancient Buddhist wise saying. Had a quick search and saw that others attribute the “no es más rico quien más tiene sino el que menos necesita” to St Augustine!! The Spanish, however, insist it was their St Teresa of Avila who coined it. 😉

    Fascinating insight into the magnanimous and upstanding life of your father, GC. He may not have left you or your siblings a luxurious yacht to bask on in the Golden Chersonese, but the incomparable example of having lived the Gospel values that he left behind is worth more than all the gold in the world… as I know you would be the first to say.

    As JH says, that is a lovely and very moving video of all those smiling children with Pope Francis. Poor in material goods perhaps, but rich in love and joy.

  14. GC says:

    He may not have left you or your siblings a luxurious yacht to bask on in the Golden Chersonese, but the incomparable example of having lived the Gospel values that he left behind is worth more than all the gold in the world.

    Very true, kathleen, thank you for reminding me ;). But I do take myself off to lunch occasionally at the Royal Yacht Club and take selfies in front of the luxury craft moored there. I can still pretend, can’t I?

    kathleen, I was very intrigued by the young French priest in the video who directs the foundation in Manila, Father Matthieu Dauchez. He is apparently a native of Versailles but studied for the priesthood in the seminary right in Ars-sur-Formans, of St John Mary Vianney fame. He is a member of the Society of John Mary Vianney (SJMV), established by the (now) bishop emeritus of Bellay-Ars, Bishop Guy-Marie Bagnard in 1990. Father Dauchez entered the society’s seminary in Ars in 1995.

    kathleen, do you know any more about the Société Jean-Marie Vianney?

    Here is more about Papa Francisco’s visit to the foundation in a Zenit interview with Father.

  15. kathleen says:

    Yes GC, I was wondering who that wonderful young priest was in the video – clever of you to discover his identity. The Zenit interview with Fr Dauchez was most poignant. A revealing sign of his true priestly vocation was that he asked for prayers first of all for ‘his children’, before anything else. Prayer moves hearts; this is what is paramount for putting an end to so much suffering and injustice innocent children have to go through, abandoned on the streets of the city. And yet they continue to smile, to return love to those who care for them with such spontaneous joy and affection – bless them!

    I’m afraid I don’t know anymore about the Société Jean-Marie Vianney than your interesting link gives, though I believe I might have heard of the Society when I was on the Chartres pilgrimage. (The name rings a bell anyhow.) The two aims of the Society – helping priests live out their priesthood to the full, and then looking for ways to contribute to encouraging priestly vocations – sound very hopeful. The Church so desperately needs more dedicated, holy priests.

  16. toadspittle says:

    “No es más rico quien más tiene sino el que menos necesita..”

    Not heard that specifically before, but it’s very similar to Epicurius saying, more or less, “If you want to make a man happy, teach him what he can live without.

  17. Michael says:

    …very similar to Epicurius saying, more or less, “If you want to make a man happy, teach him what he can live without.

    That in itself is interesting*, as I thought the whole point of Epicurus’ philosophy was the maximising of pleasure (and minimising of pain), which, whilst it doesn’t explicitly contradict the quote you’ve provided (the whole point of which is that one can be most happy without wanting things), sits a little uneasily with Epicureanism in practice, which does seem to have involved the satisfaction of desires as a key principle.

    *I’m not criticising the saying itself, or owt like that btw – just seems a little odd given the basic thrust of the Epicurean school as a whole.

  18. geoffkiernan says:

    As my Kids get older and because of hard work on their part, they’re more successful, I start to get concerned about my Grand kids. They are progressively getting to the stage that I am concerned for their future. The success of their Parents, through hard work, will have a detrimental affect on their ability to attain eternal life. That is a fact of Life. A true appreciation of true Charity is essential.
    I have yet to see an event that because we choose to give one cent to anyone in need, their prospects in gaining eternal life is enhanced. The prospects for enhancement of their ‘living’ conditions is obvious and that should be enough incentive for anyone provided their appreciation of what ‘true charity’ is all about is also enhanced.
    The balance, does not dispense with the virtue of Charity. The wealthy shouldn’t think for a moment their obligation to help,falls short of giving.
    JH at 352… I agree, it is not the purpose of Christianity to raise people out of poverty. It is the purpose to help and assist fellow pilgrims by any means possible but especially by prayer and alms giving

  19. toadspittle says:

    “…very similar to Epicurus saying, more or less, “If you want to make a man happy, teach him what he can live without.”
    Do you have any serious problem with that, Michael? No? Nor me. So what’s the big deal? He appears, as you put it yourself – to be saying, maximise pleasure, minimise pain – so, “Don’t get involved in futile, painful, nonsense regarding wishing for things like big cars and houses, because chasing after such things is silly and futile.
    Which it is.
    Nothing to do with God, of course.

    As you know, Epicurus has a shockingly bad press. His personal idea of a big blow-out was the occasional bit of cheese with his bread and water, not lark’s tongues in aspic, or whatever. Much like you, I suspect. Might be wrong, though.
    Offhand , I can’t recall how Epicurus defined being “happy.” Aristotle thought it was absorption. I’d go along with that. Also nothing to do with God, of course.

  20. johnhenrycn says:

    It’s been years since I read this excellent piece by the late Kenneth Minogue about The New Epicureans, and without reading it again, I can’t exactly remember what his thesis was, but he is always worth reading on just about anything, especially on a day like today when all the bright lights at CP&S are glued to the telly watching the Women’s Ashes Series match at Chelmsford instead of taking care of business 😉

  21. johnhenrycn says:

    …there are other essays by Minogue listed and linked at the sidebar to the right (in my link) that most people here will enjoy.

  22. Michael says:

    Do you have any serious problem with that, Michael? No? Nor me. So what’s the big deal?

    There is no ‘big deal’. I was merely pointing out that there is, in practice, quite a bit of difference between a philosophy that maxmises pleasure and minimises pain, and the precept to minimise one’s wants. As I said before, they are not necessarily contradictory, but they do not necessarily go together either, and an advocate of the first principle might well ask, with good reason, why they should stick to cheese, bread and water.

    Nothing to do with God, of course.

    Noone said it was. But this does draw attention to the fact that, despite superficially saying something similar, the quote from Epicurus and that from Saint Teresa mean markedly different things, precisely because of the final object for which their advocacy of detachment is intended to draw people closer to. For Saint Teresa*, we learn to need less so that we can rest at peace in the will of God; for Epicurus we need less so we can loll about contemplating our own sense of superiority** over those fools who still subscribe to ideas such as that an eternal standard of justice is required in order for there to be any reason for us being just ourselves.

    As for whether questions of detachment, etc (whether discussed by Saint Teresa, Epicurus or Aristotle) are ultimately to do with God, well, of course they are, even if one decides to reject His involvement. Any question about how one should live life is finally a question about what sort of being we are, and what our ends are – utilitarianism is an incomplete philosophy, which chooses to omit the most important part of the puzzle, and the one which justifies the whole endeavour in the first place.

    *As for Buddha, who knows – I’ve always found it a bit difficult to understand why, if everything is an illusion, including the distinctions we make between good and evil, we should have a reason for doing anything at all.

    **His instituting a monthly celebration of his own birthday after his death suggests Epicurus was not lacking in a sense of self-importance, to put it mildly.

  23. Michael says:

    JH @ 22:08, August 26th:

    Excellent essay by Minogue there. I’d heard of him many times (principally via Roger Scruton, who refers to or cites him quite a lot), but never read anything of his. Very good stuff. One phrase from the piece stuck me in particular – it sums up the overall argument rather well:

    Detachment from the small platoon of everyday commitments is increasingly the character of the world we live in

  24. GC says:

    Yes, JH, thanks for that.

    Here’s a collection of Minogue quotes, Michael, of which one is as follows:

    Olympianism is the characteristic belief system of today’s secularist, and it has itself many of the features of a religion. For one thing, the fusion of political conviction and moral superiority into a single package resembles the way in which religions (outside liberal states) constitute comprehensive ways of life supplying all that is necessary (in the eyes of believers) for salvation. Again, the religions with which we are familiar are monotheistic and refer everything to a single center. In traditional religions, this is usually God; with Olympianism, it is society, understood ultimately as including the whole of humanity. And Olympianism, like many religions, is keen to proselytize. Its characteristic mode of missionary activity is journalism and the media.

    If Olympianism has the character of a religion, as I am suggesting, there would be no mystery about its hostility to Christianity. Real religions (by contrast with test-tube religions such as ecumenism) don’t much like each other; they are, after all, competitors. Olympianism, however, is in the interesting position of being a kind of religion which does not recognize itself as such, and indeed claims a cognitive superiority to religion in general. But there is a deeper reason why the spread of Olympianism may be measured by the degree of Christophobia. It is that Olympianism is an imperial project which can only be hindered by the association between Christianity and the West.

    (I’m sure I’ve said that some time too)

  25. GC says:

    And another:

    The failure of Communism was consecrated in the fall of the Soviet Union. The remarkable thing is that, as in most cases when prophecy fails, the faith never faltered. Indeed, an alternative version had long been maturing, though cast into the shadows for a time by enthusiasm for the quick fix of revolution. It had, however, been maturing for at least a century and already had a notable repertoire of institutions available. We may call it Olympianism, because it is the project of an intellectual elite that believes that it enjoys superior enlightenment and that its business is to spread this benefit to those living on the lower slopes of human achievement. And just as Communism had been a political project passing itself off as the ultimate in scientific understanding, so Olympianism burrowed like a parasite into the most powerful institution of the emerging knowledge economy–the universities.

    We may define Olympianism as a vision of human betterment to be achieved on a global scale by forging the peoples of the world into a single community based on the universal enjoyment of appropriate human rights. Olympianism is the cast of mind dedicated to this end, which is believed to correspond to the triumph of reason and community over superstition and hatred. It is a politico-moral package in which the modern distinction between morals and politics disappears into the aspiration for a shared mode of life in which the communal transcends individual life. To be a moral agent is in these terms to affirm a faith in a multicultural humanity whose social and economic conditions will be free from the causes of current misery. Olympianism is thus a complex long-term vision, and contemporary Western Olympians partake of different fragments of it.

    To be an Olympian is to be entangled in a complex dialectic involving elitism and egalitarianism. The foundational elitism of the Olympian lies in self-ascribed rationality, generally picked up on an academic campus. Egalitarianism involves a formal adherence to democracy as a rejection of all forms of traditional authority, but with no commitment to taking any serious notice of what the people actually think. Olympians instruct mortals, they do not obey them. Ideally, Olympianism spreads by rational persuasion, as prejudice gives way to enlightenment. Equally ideally, democracy is the only tolerable mode of social coordination, but until the majority of people have become enlightened, it must be constrained within a framework of rights, to which Olympian legislation is constantly adding. Without these constraints, progress would be in danger from reactionary populism appealing to prejudice. The overriding passion of the Olympian is thus to educate the ignorant and everything is treated in educational terms. Laws for example are enacted not only to shape the conduct of the people, but also to send messages to them. A belief in the power of role models, public relations campaigns, and above all fierce restrictions on raising sensitive questions devant le peuple are all part of pedagogic Olympianism.

  26. GC says:

    I couldn’t resist this part:
    The religions with which we are familiar are monotheistic and refer everything to a single center. In traditional religions, this is usually God; with Olympianism, it is society, understood ultimately as including the whole of humanity. And Olympianism, like many religions, is keen to proselytize. Its characteristic mode of missionary activity is journalism and the media.

  27. Michael says:

    Thank you GC! I shall certainly be looking up more stuff by Kenneth Minogue, off the back of what you’ve posted here and the article JH linked to earlier. A lot of good stuff in the excerpts above, but one thing particularly worth mentioning – I love his use of the term ‘Olympian’ in reference to modern secular liberalism. It seems highly appropriate, especially in light of that (in)famous biblical false promise ‘…ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil’ – a perennial temptation 🙂

    Oh, and also, a lot of what Minogue writes above reminds me of this short(ish) talk I recently watched by Benjamin Wiker:

  28. kathleen says:

    You beat me to it, Michael!
    I was going to post this pertinent You Tube video myself on this thread… giving you the deserved H/T of course, since it was you who alerted me to it. 😉

    It is truly a brilliant talk, giving logical insights into the distrust and antagonism of Secularism towards Christendom today, and how they’ve managed to infiltrate even our universities so successfully.

  29. johnhenrycn says:

    One of the Minogue quotes above explains that his use of the word ‘Olympian’ in reference to those who hold most of the reins of power in liberal Western democracies involves a complex mixture of elitism and egalitarianism. So true. They quietly celebrate, utilize and profit from their socio-political position whilst disguising it with a Stoop To Conquer-ish condescension until thwarted, whereupon all the levers of power – parliament, courts, police, academia and media – are pulled and the masses are dropped back in their proper place.

  30. toadspittle says:

    “It is truly a brilliant talk, giving logical insights into the distrust and antagonism of Secularism towards Christendom today, and how they’ve managed to infiltrate even our universities so successfully.”
    “Even”? I suppose it hinges on what you mean by “our universities.” (Catholic ones?) Otherwise, one might reasonably expect the secularist swine to start with universities. Or maybe I misunderstand.

    People seem surprised that secularism seems antagonistic to religion. Of course it is. Distrustful? Naturally. Look what some religions get up to these days, and what others have done in the past.
    Although, as I’ve said too often before, I think nowadays it’s more indifference, than antagonism.
    Most people don’t care what religions do, as long as the fanatics aren’t slitting throats. Which, of course, they are. People look at Isis and loony fundamentalists who think the world is just a bit over a fortnight old. Of course they then say, “The hell with this nonsense.” We all do, don’t we?

    “Its characteristic mode of missionary activity is journalism and the media.”
    Tempi cambi. The only missionary work I ever recall indulging in was trying to up the circulation. Possibly running stories on naughty old priests and altar boys helped. Don’t know. I think the aaithour aiming to shoot the messenger here. Possibly.

    ‘Detachment from the small platoon of everyday commitments is increasingly the character of the world we live in‘
    I suppose he’s bemoaning the fact that we don’t go to the lavatory any more. Well, it was an old-fashioned habit, certainly. Enjoyable, though.

  31. Michael says:

    I suppose it hinges on what you mean by “our universities.”

    Universities as an institution originally founded by Catholic monks in a Catholic culture, patronised by the Church and even after the break-up of Christendom during the Reformation something which was until very recently shaped by Christian culture. One might indeed expect the ‘secularist swine’ to start with the universities – it wasn’t really the point of the talk to say that this was surprising. Did you actually watch it?

    People look at Isis and loony fundamentalists…

    And then come to the unwarranted conclusion that all religions are violent and anti-rational, despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary. Yes, we’ve heard this all before – it is a key part of secular rhetoric, designed to detract attention away from the shortcomings of their own project via the straw man of ‘all religions are like ISIS and the Westboro Baptist Church’. The problem is that this thesis, whilst alarmist enough to be effective, doesn’t actually correspond to reality.

  32. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 19:08, August 27th:

    Thank you – I am glad you enjoyed it! He has another few talks available on youtube. One with Fr. Mitch Pacwa, where he talks about a series he was/is working on for EWTN called ‘Saints and Scoundrels’ is particularly good – he discusses a few of the key figures whom he considers responsible for the destruction of Western civilisation and (in the series) compares these to those who had built it up in the first place (for example, he compares Saint Augustine with Jean-Jacques Rousseau – the latter having modelled his ‘Confessions’ on the former, but with rather different intentions and content!)

  33. kathleen says:

    Michael @ 9:35

    Absolutely brilliant! No need for me to go into ‘battle’ with The Toad to add anything to your thorough and conclusive response to the ream of ‘toadities’. (My turn to coin a toadish neologism! 😉 )

    And @ 9:41

    Thanks for the tip, Michael. I shall ‘google’ the YouTube links, and look out for the new EWTN series. Should be very interesting and edifying stuff. 🙂

  34. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 10:18, August 28th:

    I haven’t been able to find any episodes of the series online unfortunately, but the interview with Fr. Pacwa does give a good sense of what it might be like. On a similar note, there is also a (frustratingly short) talk by Dr. Wiker (on youtube) on a book he wrote called ‘Ten Books That Screwed Up The World’, which sounds interesting 🙂

  35. johnhenrycn says:

    Ten Books That Screwed Up The World

    Michael, without Googling (honest!) Dr Wiker’s book or his YouTube, my guesses are:
    Rousseau The Social Contract
    Paine The Rights of Man
    John Stuart Mill On Liberty
    Marx Das Kapital
    Sartre (something by him)
    De Beauvoir The Second Sex (which I actually liked back in the day)
    Marcuse (something by him)
    Foucault (something by him)
    Derrida (something by him)
    Greer The Female Eunuch
    I’m keen to hear what other (again without Googling) suggestions there might be?

  36. kathleen says:

    Michael @ 21:04

    Thanks for looking, though I don’t expect they will be available online yet; it’s too soon if the series is still in the making. 🙂 I’ll do a google search tomorrow for the Mitch Pacwa interview.

    Talking of the “Ten Books That Screwed Up The World” according to Dr. Wiker (and without cheating either, JH, honest!) surely Nietzsche’s work would be mentioned? Freud too perhaps? And anything written with a ‘gay agenda’ or a ‘militant feminist agenda’ (can’t think what offhand) would, at a guess, be good instruments for ‘screwing up’ the minds of those with these tendencies.

    Now off to bed – it’s way past my bedtime once again, (yawn). Night, night.

  37. johnhenrycn says:

    “Now off to bed…”

    Aww, what a spoiler! I would discount Nietzsche because no one except my ‘recommends’ has ever read him, but Freud is definitely near the Top of the Pops, and I wish I’d mentioned him instead of Derrida, who no one (like Nietzsche) has ever read. As for the ‘gays’ (Foucault) and militant feminists (De Beauvoir and Greer), I think I’ve mentioned the most prominent ones 🙂

  38. Anyone who wants to know what authors actually made the list can find it here at Dr. Wiker’s site:

    I won’t post the list here in case anyone still wants to guess.

    (I have to admit that I Googled it)

  39. toadspittle says:

    Darwin screwed up the world?
    Er…OK – how?

    The world screwed up long before books.
    …The man’s a nut.

  40. Tom Fisher says:

    At the risk of JH getting mad at me:

    Paine, The Rights of Man

    The above work is to good to be included in your list JH.

  41. johnhenrycn says:

    Morning (or evening) Tom: Edmund Burke was disdainful of Paine’s Rights of Man (but not – as I recall – his earlier Common Sense), and he was right to be:

    In An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs (August 1791), Burke quotes writers who criticized his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), particularly Paine in Rights of Man ( Part 1 – 1791). Referring to himself in the third person, Burke writes of Paine et al:

    “I will not attempt in the smallest degree to refute them. This will probably be done (if such writings shall be thought to deserve any other than the refutation of criminal justice) by others, who may think with Mr. Burke. I have done my part.”

    Here’s a review of a new book about the differences between them:
    “As Levin shows with impressive learning and a rare capacity to enter into the spirit of both parties to the controversy, the great debate was about more than the French Revolution. In developing their arguments, Burke and Paine laid the groundwork for two rival schools of thought about liberal democracy; these schools set forth fundamental alternatives to conceiving the challenge of organizing political life around the belief that human beings are by nature free and equal. Paine, Levin argues, stands for a “progressive liberalism” that seeks to bring political society into conformity with an abstract model of political perfection that involves freeing the individual from the constraints imposed on him not only by arbitrary or overreaching laws, but also by “his time, his place, and his relations to others.” Burke champions a “conserving liberalism” that discerned in Britain’s established institutions and inherited morals and principles political wisdom in light of which prudent reform could be responsibly undertaken.”

  42. Toad at 06:00
    You can find out why Darwin made the list by reading the book, or (if you don’t want to spend any money) by listening to this hour long interview:

    For any conservatives out there: 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Impostor

    Guess what fifteen books made this list.

  43. Michael says:

    Darwin screwed up the world?
    Er…OK – how?

    The world screwed up long before books.
    …The man’s a nut.


  44. toadspittle says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Michael.
    How utterly silly it all is.

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